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Ace Hotels co-founder Alex Calderwood reveals his favorite cities and hotels, how to get a room upgrade, and how to know you can trust your concierge
Favorite city: Paris. Amsterdam is a close second. The Dylan hotel there is fantastic.
Favorite hotel: The St. Cecilia in Austin—the rooms, the public spaces, the attention to detail.
Favorite motel: The Beverly Laurel Motor Hotel in LA. Swingers was filmed there.
Best hotel bar: The Hotel Costes in Paris.
Vital hotel amenity: Good room service.
Indispensable feature: You can have a beautiful room, but if the bed's bad, it sucks.
Must-have in-room toy: Music Hall Audio turntables are great.
Lobby music secret: John Richards, who deejays for Seattle indie station KEXP and lives in New York.
How to test the concierge: I trust him if he mentions anything that I've read about on superfuture.com or tabletguides.com. If his recommendations sound middle of the road, I ask where the staff hangs out.
Upgrade tip: Go as late in the evening as possible and ask if you can [move up] to the next room category. If the hotel is not full, $50 can take you from a double to a suite.
Best turn-down treatment: About 10 years ago I stayed somewhere in the Northwest where they put very large vitamin C tablets on the bed.
Travel accessory reminiscent of home: I bought a macramé owl at a flea market that I wanted to put in our Palm Springs hotel.
Room service meal: Eggs Benedict on a Sunday morning with The New York Times
Bedside Bible: We stock our bedside tables with the Kama Sutra and tiny pocket Bibles made for the U.S. Army that are covered in camouflage.
Packing strategy: The same Supreme duffle bag has brought me around the globe for at least 10 years. And I always pack only one color of socks since I'm bound to lose one along the way.
Quintessential hotel movie scene: In the original Pink Panther, Peter Sellers stayed in a ski chalet that I always thought was out of this world; Royal Tenenbaum working in a hotel was pretty memorable; and the scenes in the Polo Lounge [at the Beverly Hills Hotel] from American Gigolo.
Reason for no toothpaste in hotel bathrooms: It never occurred to me. I'll consider it! For the time being, if you ask for a tube, we'll send one up.